Today Representatives Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), and Brenda Lawrence (D-MI) introduced the Smithsonian Women’s History Museum Act, which has 293 cosponsors and is expected to go to the U.S. House floor for a vote tomorrow afternoon. This bill will establish a Smithsonian museum dedicated to women’s history on the National Mall.
“We are delighted that women’s achievements will finally be recognized, celebrated and taught to future generations with this new Smithsonian museum,” said Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority Foundation. “It is long overdue.”
Currently, only 9 out of 100 statues in the U.S. Capitol’s National Statuary Hall are women, and only 5% of 2,400 national monuments depict women. Women’s history is grievously underrepresented in history textbooks used in schools. The bill will establish a national Smithsonian museum to collect, study, and establish programs related to women’s history. The bill provides a combination of federal and private funding for the construction of the museum, mirroring the successful model that brought the National Museum of African American History and Culture into being.
“We want to thank Rep. Maloney for her tireless work,” stated Smeal. “Since 1992 she has been working to make this dream a reality. This could not have happened without her diligence and vision.”
“There are so many vital and inspiring moments in women’s history that deserve to be highlighted so that present and future generations know the true scope of women’s accomplishments throughout our history,” continued Smeal. “If we do not publicly recognize and honor the women who helped shape our country, we are distorting our nation’s history.”
A final report released by a bipartisan Congressional Commission created by a bill that Rep. Maloney sponsored found that the future museum should be part of the Smithsonian, that it should include a wide array of diverse experiences and viewpoints of the women who helped mold the U.S., and that the museum deserves a prominent location on the National Mall.
“This is excellent progress in bringing women’s achievements and stories to light,” concluded Smeal. “We look forward to watching the project unfold and will be first in line when construction is completed and the museum opens to the public.”